Pennsylvania online sports betting went live in May of 2019 after Governor Tom Wolf signed HB271 into law back in 2017. The reason for the delay was that online sportsbooks had to wait 18 months to go live. The bill was signed even before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned in May 2018. When it was that made sports betting legal on a state-by-state basis and the first retail sportsbook in the Keystone State opened in 2018 and a year later online wagering was up and running.
This in-depth article will spell out all of the important information about Pennsylvania online sports betting. It will show you the road to becoming legal, tax information, sportsbooks available in the state, and the things that you can bet on and the things you cannot. On top of that we will look into our crystal ball and show you the future of legal sports betting in Pennsylvania.
All legal sports betting options in Pennsylvania
The legal situation on Pennsylvania sports betting
Pennsylvania was in a unique situation when Gov Tom Wolf signed HB271 into law even before (PASPA) was overturned in May 2018. When it was overturned the Keystone State was quick to act with retail sports betting available in the same year and online betting launching in May 2019. Online sports betting has thrived in the state since its launch. According to PA law the online sportsbooks have to be partnered with land-based casinos, so all of the 14 online sportsbooks have a partner in a retail casino in the state.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board licenses and governs both retail and online sports betting in the state. Many of the Pennsylvania online sportsbooks are also partnered with professional sports teams in the state such as FoxBet and the Philadelphia 76ers, Play SugarHouse and the Philadelphia Flyers, and Unibet and the Philadelphia Eagles.
🛑 What you can’t bet on from online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania
While many states have various restrictions for sports betting Pennsylvania is not one of them. Unlike other states in the Keystone State you can make wagers on in-state collegiate teams as well as college games that are held in the state. That is a big deal, as Pennsylvania is home to some big colleges with major sports, mainly football and basketball, programs such as Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Villanova, and Temple to name a few.
There are some wagering restrictions in Pennsylvania, as you cannot bet on:
- Player proposition bets for college sports
- Entertainment bets such as for the Emmys and Oscars
- Political bets such as the U.S. presidential election
🟢 What you can bet on from online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania
- NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Baseball
- Major Domestic Leagues, including NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, MMA, UFC, etc.
- Major International Leagues, including England Premier League, Italy Serie A, Spain La Liga, etc.
- Major sports events, including NBA playoffs and finals, Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, The Masters, Olympics, etc.
- Most betting types, including spreads, moneylines, totals (over/under), parlays, futures, proposition bets, and live bets.
What is the tax situation in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania the tax for sports betting revenue is on the high side at 36%. However, that high rate did not deter people from making wagers online, as the state made $40 million in taxes in the first full year of legal sports betting. While there are many retail locations to make sports bets in PA since the inception of online betting 85% of wagers in the state have been made online.
Currently it costs operators a one-time $10 million sports betting licensing fee in Pennsylvania.
All the available sportsbooks in Pennsylvania
- Barstool Sports
- Play SugarHouse
- Points Bet
Forecasts about the future of online gambling in Pennsylvania
The future is very bright in terms of online sports betting in Pennsylvania. There is not a limit on the skins (licenses) that the state can give and there are still big gaming companies out there looking to join the market in the Keystone State, such as Golden Nugget. However, the number will be limited, as the online sportsbook operator must be partnered with a land-based casino.
The bright future does not only apply to sports betting, as Pennsylvania is one of only a few states where online sports betting, online casino gambling, and online poker are all legal. Many of the online sportsbooks available in the state also offer casino and poker betting where you can bet on those and sports through one account.
You can see how massive the online sports betting industry is in Pennsylvania looking at the growth of it in a quick manner. As of September 2020 the revenue that was taxed on sports betting was a little over $6.2 million and only a year later in September of 2021 that figure was a little over $28 million, which is a growth increase of a whopping 351%.
Timeline of main events in Pennsylvania
- February 2022 – Points Bet becomes the latest online sportsbook to go live.
- November 2019 – Online poker betting goes live in Pennsylvania.
- July 2019 – Online casino betting goes live in Pennsylvania.
- May 2019 – Play SugarHouse becomes the first online sportsbook to take bets.
- May 2019 – Online sports betting goes live in Pennsylvania
- November 2018 – The first retail sportsbooks open their doors.
- May 2018 – The Supreme Court overturns Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made sports betting legal on a state-by-state basis.
- October 2017 – Governor Tom Wolf signs HB271 legalizing sports betting.
- July 2004 – The Pennsylvania Racehorse Development and Gaming Act was passed and that established the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which continues to oversee all gambling activities in the state.
How do I start betting online in Pennsylvania
To get going betting in the Keystone State is a very fast and easy process. The first thing you have to do is pick from one of the various legal online sportsbooks available in the state and as of May 2022 there are 14 to choose from. Then you will have to register for an account and you must be at least 21 years of age to do so. After the registration process is complete you will then have to go through the verification process. To do this you will have to give the sportsbook info such as:
- Full name
- Social Security Number
- Personal verification information
Once you have gone through the verification process you can then make a deposit and get started betting on your favorite sports.
Pennsylvania is a little bit different from other states in that they are one of the few that have legal casino and poker betting as well as sports betting. So, if you enjoy betting on sports as well as casino games and poker it is advantageous that the sportsbook you choose also has casino and poker wagering available.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is the body that regulates sports betting, as well as all other gambling activity, in the state.
Yes. The odds will be the same as in other states and, for the most part, many of the online sportsbooks available in PA are offered in other states as well, such as FOXBet, BetMGM, and DraftKings.
A couple of the big differences are betting restrictions and the ability to bet on poker and casino games as well. Unlike other states Pennsylvania allows bettors to wager on in-state college teams as well as college games that are held in the state. Also, the Keystone State is one of the few where you can wager on online casino games and poker as well as sports betting.
Yes, Sports betting is legal in Pennsylvania with the passing of bill HB271 in 2017. That was before the federal decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and when that happened in 2018 retail sports betting went live in the same year and then in May of 2019 online sports betting went live.
You must be 21 years old to gamble on sports in Pennsylvania.
You can legally bet online at any of the 14 licensed online sportsbooks.
No. You do not need to be a resident of the Keystone State but to make bets you have to be located within the state borders.
Yes. You can access your PA sportsbook account in other states and look at the odds, make deposits and withdrawals, and contact customer service. However, again, you have to be physically located in the state of Pennsylvania to make bets.